It is still a crime to steal intellectual property

Increasingly, intangible assets are vital to the economy of our country. Intellectual property such as music, computer programs and written works are not only the driving force behind many industries, but provide a livelihood for the inventors and artists who often make great sacrifices regarding their unique creations. In New York and across the country, there seems to be a misconception about what constitutes the illegal use of someone's intellectual property.

Stealing a CD or DVD from a store is clearly an example of theft. However, some would argue that the theft occurred because physical property was taken. In other words, the disc on which the music or movie was stored is the only thing with value. This thinking would make downloading such works online legal and perhaps clear the way for others to profit from such unauthorized downloading.

Defenders of intellectual property argue that people do not steal CDs or DVDs for the shiny disc inside the box. The items are pilfered because of the artistic content they contain, contents created and owned by artists. By upholding laws that protect intellectual property, society encourages artists to continue producing those works of art and other products that make the world a better place. Without those protections, creators may have no incentive -- or even the means -- to continue with their art.

Taking and using someone else's property for personal gain is stealing, and the law protects those who are victims of such crimes. Artists in New York who struggle because someone has stolen their intellectual property have every right to fight back in civil courts. By obtaining the assistance of an attorney, they will know the best way to defend their rights.

Source: heartland.org, "Yes, Stealing Intellectual Property Is Stealing", Seton Motley, Sept. 7, 2017

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